Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016 “You had me at hello.” A line made famous by Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire.” However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have said, “You had me at Merlot.” And, with good reason. Merlot, French for little blackbird because of its very dark fruit, is naturally versatile, acclimating to different climate zones and soil compositions, which, over time, have made it the second most planted red grape on the planet, behind its brother from Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot can be big and rich, but also fruity and soft, without being overly high in acids or tannins. These characteristics make Merlot an elegant and easy choice to drink as well as pair with food. If that doesn’t spark your interest in Merlot, maybe this will. You know all those famous red wines from Bordeaux? Wines that are considered some of the best in the world? Well, they’re all blended with Merlot. And, many are mostly Merlot—especially, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux appellation, where it’s the law that Merlot has to be the predominant grape. Of course, the most famous Merlot wine is undoubtedly Pétrus (100% Merlot) from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux. This highly collectable wine can fetch several thousand dollars, depending on its vintage. You may not be as familiar with Merlot’s positive attributes, especially post “Sideways”—a 2004 film […]
Wine requires two assessments: Subjective and Objective. Just because we like a wine, doesn’t mean it’s a great wine. One way to illustrate this point is with art. You may not want to hang a reproduction of a Claude Monet painting in your home, but you agree that Monet is a great artist. So, getting to the point where you have both a subjective and objective opinion is one of the most rewarding stages in developing knowledge and comfort in wine; thus, allowing you to separate your liking of something from its quality. So, the point is this: You can love a wine but understand that it’s not a great wine. For example, I have weekly wines and weekend wines. Weekly wines are inexpensive wines ($15-25) we enjoy with our simple evening meals; however, weekend wines are the special ones ($50 or more) we may take to a favorite gourmet restaurant that has a corkage fee. Most of us know what we like, but having an objective opinion means increasing our knowledge base. So, let’s get started! The Five Ss: –See –Swirl –Sniff –Sip –Savor All together, they’ll enable you to maximize your enjoyment of your next glass of wine. SEE A wine’s color can tell you a lot: Taste, intensity, condition, and most likely, its aromas and flavors. The best way to examine the color is to tilt the glass over a white surface, such as a white table […]
Tuscany, Italy We have two lives: the one we learn with….and the life we live after that. ~Bernard Malmud Have a wonderful week!
A Rosé By Any Other Way A sparkling rosé from Veritas Vineyard in Afton, Virginia Vintage floral tablecloth belonging to my beloved grandmother, Lois McManaway Rieley Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and sparkling rosé wines are showing up on displays in many grocery stores and wine shops, I thought it would be helpful to share […]
Champagne, despite common misconceptions, shouldn’t be reserved as a special occasion-only wine. With its varying levels of acidity and texture, and rich layers of flavor, Champagne is incredibly versatile and pairs perfectly with a wide variety of foods. So, what are the rules when it comes to Champagne pairings? First of all, complimenting the notes and flavors of the Champagne […]
Quiet, cold, and crystal clear. This is the Green Hill Farm I woke up to on Sunday morning–the first snowfall of the season. And, there’s nothing like the serene beauty of the country when it’s blanketed with snow. All of the hustle and bustle and noise just seem to stop. I breathed in the peaceful views while realizing that the busyness of the day was only about to begin. The farm looked shimmering and magical, but it also looked shivery and cold. But, anyone who farms knows that’s no excuse. Especially, when sheep, chickens, cats, and dogs are all waiting on you to take care of them. So, after applying layers of clothing and looking something akin to the little brother from the film, A Christmas Story, Farmguy and I headed outdoors to embrace what we love. The sense of meaningfulness and purpose that caring for our animals and farm gives us. Since we’re enjoying such a wintry scene this week, I thought a hot toddy recipe may be in order. Fittingly, this cocktail is called a Warm Woolly Sheep. Farmguy and I discovered it while on vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland a number of years ago. It’s best enjoyed by a fire on a cold day. I hope you enjoy the snowy farm pictures as well as this wonderful drink. 🙂 Warm Woolly Sheep (Hot Toddy) This cocktail is not too sweet, thanks to the blend of scotch and […]